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Thursday, June 27 2019 @ 10:14 AM UTC

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Water Levels Dropping Behind Bayano Dam

Weather The general director of the National Civil Protection System (Sinaproc), Arturo Alvarado, reported this morning that the water level has dropped behind the Bayano dam. According to Alvarado, this decrease gives hope that the situation will improve in Chepo. Speaking on the Channel 13 morning news program Telemetro Reporta, the Sinaproc director added that, so far, there have been 37 evacuations of people from that region to other hospitals. He also said humanitarian aid is being received at aid center they established at the University of Panama campus in Chepo. He reported that the unusually heavy rains began falling in Panama on 5 December 2010.

Darien - However, the official reiterated that the area Yaviza in the province of the Darien suffered damages due to recent floods. There, he said in some cases the houses are filled halfway with water. Faced with this situation, Alvarado said the necessary assistance will be provided to the affected residents. On the other hand, Alvarado made a call for calm, and said the crisis caused by the inclement weather should not cause alarm or anxiety among the rest of the population. He said authorities are taking all measures to bring the situation under control. (La Prensa)

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A Video of Flooding Near Chepo Below Bayano Dam

WeatherBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Received today via email: "Hi Don, Here is a short film I made using footage of the flooding taken yesterday (Saturday). I thought you might want to post it on the blog. Take care, molly" Thanks for sending this, Molly...







Copyright 2010 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Greg Coy Recovering in Panama Hospital After Devastating Mudslide

WeatherBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Yesterday I drove over to Colon to visit Canadian Greg Coy, who is in the Amador Guerrero Social Security hospital recovering from injuries received on Wednesday morning, 8 December 2010, the result of a devastating mudslide in Portobelo. His wife Susanna Murell, his wife's adult son Pablo, Pablo's wife Corvacho Ana Lucia Aguilar, and the couple's three-month-old baby girl were all killed in the mudslide. Greg's pelvis was shattered, broken in three places, and it's a miracle he's still alive. The mudslide destroyed his family, his home, his business, and wiped out all of his belongings. At this very moment Josh and Kristin Coy, Greg's adult children from an earlier marriage, are making arrangements to fly down to Panama to be with their father.

He Lost Everything: This terrible incident, in the blink of an eye, has taken literally everything away from Grey Coy - his wife and family, his home and business, his health and mobility, and all of his possessions. He remains with this life, his friends and neighbors, and his children in Canada. Those same friends and neighbors rushed to his aid to pull his shattered body from the devastation - they saved his life. There is a relatively small but tight-knit community of English speaking expatriates who live in Portobelo full time and they all know one another. And right now they are pulling together to help Grey recover from this terrible tragedy.

Greg Coy and his wife, Susanna

If You Would Like To Help: The Prime Minister of Canada is organizing fundraising efforts there to help Greg's children fly to Panama, for starters. The people in Portobelo are just starting to get organized with regards to some kind of a fundraising or relief effort - and in fact they are living in the middle of a disaster area. Every house and family was impacted in some way by the rains, flooding, and mudslides. Most people just got flooded out or in some way inconvenienced - and few suffered the complete and total devastation witnessed by Greg Coy. He needs your help and support.

Making Initial Contact: I went to the hospital in Colon yesterday afternoon just to show my face, and to let them know I would do whatever I could to help. The one thing I can do is to help get the message out - to ask my readers to make a relief donation. For now, here's several ways you can make a donation:

  • Are You In Panama? If you are in Panama or if you have a Panamanian bank account established for whatever reason, then there are a lot of ways you can make a donation through the local banking system. This would be the easiest and fastest way. In order to coordinate this, please give me a call on my cell phone in Panama at 6614-0451 and we can exchange the information necessary. This also goes for anyone in Panama City who just wants to make a cash donation or what have you. Give me a call or send me an email at don@panama-guide.com and we can get together.

  • Via PayPal: The quickest and easiest way to send money from the United States or elsewhere outside of Panama is via the PayPal system. For now, send your donation to don@panama-guide.com. Once the guys in Portobelo get more organized then the PayPal address for donations will probably change. Please make sure to put a comment in with your donation with "Greg Coy Relief Fund" or something like that.

  • Mail a Check: This is the least desirable method of making a relief donation - mostly because it takes a very long time for the money to get where it can do some good. Sending a paper check is simply not the best way to send money to Panama from the United States. If you mail a paper check, first it has to get there through the mail system (either one of the commercial services or through the Panamanian mail system) which takes time. Then once the check is here, it has to be deposited into a Panamanian bank account. Once that is done, then it takes 30 days or more for the check to "clear" and for the funds to be deposited into the account. Then, those funds have to be withdrawn and the cash handed over. Too slow, too many steps. However, if you insist and if that's the only way you have of making a donation - then go right ahead. There are two addresses you can use (again, for the time being):

    • To send the check via my Airbox Express account, please make the check payable to "Donald Winner" and mail to the following address - Donald Winner, PTY 12050, PO Box 25207, Miami, FL 33102-5207. Please put a note on the bottom of the check "Greg Coy Relief Fund"

    • To send a check via my post office box in the Panamanian mail system, please make the check payable to "Donald Winner" and send to "Donald Winner, APDO 0823-01228, Plaza Concordia, Panama City, Panama. And, put a note on the bottom of the check "Greg Coy Relief Fund."

Independent Verification and Tracking: If you want, after you make a donation via any means or method you can post a simple note to the Americans in Panama Yahoo email group, saying something like "Hey Don, I just sent $50 bucks via Paypal..." or whatever. I will then confirm receipt of your donation in a reply. This would establish some kind of a public record of the donations people have sent - because I know how people are. "No good deed goes unpunished" - right? But at the same time I understand there are many people who would like to make an anonymous donation, and who trust their donations will get into to the right hands. Anyway, it's there if you want to use it. And eventually this entire effort will be handed off to others anyway. I just wanted to get something going as soon as possible.

Children Flying Down: Greg's children will be flying down to Panama in the next coming days. They had to hold a fundraiser in Canada just to buy plane tickets and cover their expenses. I'd like to hand them a wad of cash when they get off of the airplane.

I Never Ask You Guys for Nothing: There are now more than 125,000 people who regularly read this website every month. You people, my regular readers, know me - I let my personality flow into my articles. I spend most of my time writing about people who deserve our disdain - the likes of Holbert, Reese, Lucanegro, Cover, Mallon, Hall - and others. And you also know I never ask my readers for anything. Well, I'm asking now. Greg Coy didn't do anything wrong. He's simply a victim of Mother Nature's fury. This poor man lost it all in the blink of an eye. He's a member of our community. He's hurt. He's lost his wife, family, home, business, and all of this belongings. He needs our help, right now. Sometimes it seems like the members of our community of English speaking expatriates are experts at sniping at one another, complaining about little things, taking shots, and emphasizing political differences or petty complaints over this or that. I would like to think that now - less than two weeks before Christmas - we could set all of that crap aside to help a member of our community when he needs it most. So please do whatever you can to help. Man up. I've never asked before, but I'm asking now.

Copyright 2010 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Panama's Cabinet Council Declares State of Emergency

WeatherPanama's Cabinet Council yesterday approved a resolution that declares a national state of emergency following the severe damage caused due to heavy rains in recent days, and the imminence of further damage that could be caused as a product of the weather. The request was submitted to the Cabinet by the President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, who spoke about the urgency to take such measures in order to provide the funding and resources needed to address and mitigate the effects of the disaster.

This decision of the Cabinet also authorizes the Minister of Economy and Finance, Alberto Vallarino, so that, if required, he can request a waiver to the National Assembly for the temporary suspension of the financial limits contained in Article 11 of Law 34, of 2008 (Fiscal Responsibility Law). This article stipulates that "in cases of natural disaster or national emergency (...), the Cabinet, through the Minister of Economy and Finance, through a substantiated report and with the favorable opinion of the Comptroller General of the Republic, will send to the National Assembly, a waiver with respect to the application of financial limits and prohibitions referred to this chapter .... "

Similarly, the Cabinet agreed to take over the coordination of the actions being implemented by the government until the situation in the country resulting from the recent heavy rains, flooding, and mudslides returns to normal. (La Estrella)

Editor's Comment: The "Cabinet Council" is the Executive Branch of government, and is comprised of the President, Vice President, Ministers and other governmental administrators. Again, in this article the phrase used - "the imminence of further damage that could be caused as a product of the weather" - caught my eye. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, and again this is just a combination of a hunch and speculation on my part, but I still think there might be a possibility that the Bayano Dam could be in danger of failing... If you're going to repeat this, please make sure you do it with a huge and loud "speculation alert" from me. It could be a hit on the radar, or it could be ground clutter - I don't know which yet.

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Panama's Government Places Restrictions on Movement Below Bayano Dam

WeatherThe Ministry of the Interior, through the National Protection System, has issued an order which prohibits any movement by air, land, or sea in the disaster area in the district of Chepo. The movement restrictions extend from the basin below the Bayano dam to the sea, and includes the port of Coquira and the surrounding areas. The resolution was signed by the Director of Sinaproc, Arturo Alvarado, explains that they took this measure because the airspace is being used to deliver humanitarian assistance to the affected areas. And, the suspension of movement via ground and sea is aimed at safeguarding the lives of citizens, because the release of water from the Bayano dam continues to generate strong currents. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: I smell a fish. I suspect (and, this is just a hunch) that the government might have some concerns about the strength and stability of the Bayano dam, and therefore they are restricting all movements downstream and below the dam, while working as hard as they can to evacuate everyone else to higher ground. Right in the middle of the crisis Panama's president Ricardo Martinelli said "we almost lost the dam" due to the high water levels in the lake. Again, it seems strange to place this kind of restrictions on movements - especially when people might be trying to help their family members recover from the affects of the rainfall and flooding. But then again at the same time maybe they are worried about looters or something like that? I don't know for sure, but it sure seems like there's "something else" going on, and my Spider Sense is tingling... Let's hope it's nothing.

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Winnipeg woman trying to get to her father's side in Panama

WeatherGreg Coy and his wife Susanna were in their home in Panama when a mudslide hit. (ctvwinnipeg.ca) A Winnipeg woman is holding out hope that her father will survive a mudslide in Panama that has taken the lives of other family members. Kristin Coy's 52-year-old father, Greg, is in hospital after a mudslide wiped out his family's home in panama. "I just want my dad to pull through," Coy says. "He tried to save my stepmom. The rest of them were buried alive." At least 10 people have died from the rains and flooding in Panama, and hundreds have been forced to leave their homes.

Coy says her father struggled to rescue his family when the slide took everyone by surprise on Wednesday. "Everyone is completely devastated," she says. "We not only lost our stepmom, but we lost our brother and his wife, and their three-month-old child." With so much heartbreak, Coy and her brother want to be by their father's side. He is in a Panama hospital with injuries to his spinal chord and a shattered pelvis. "In case he passes away, I don't want his last memory to be saving his wife, and watching her die," Coy says.

However, Kristin doesn't have a passport or money for a flight. To help, her friends held a benefit concert on Friday night. "She's a friend, and a friend in need," says Nathan Terin, one of the organizers. The concert at the Royal Albert Arms raised more than $1,400, Terin says.

Editor's Comment: Does anyone know what hospital Greg Coy is in? Please let me know via email - don@panama-guide.com, my US phone number is (845) 514-9893, or my cell phone in Panama is (507) 6614-0451. Thanks.

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MOP Investigating Centennial Bridge Roadway Collapse

Weather Panama's Minister of Public Works Federico Suarez inspected one of the roads leading to the Centennial Bridge this morning, that collapsed earlier in the week. The underlying cement slab gave way due to water running under the roadway, according to reports. Therefore, the MOP staff continued with the investigations of the area. Traffic police continue a special operation in the area after one lane was closed and the passage of heavy trucks and equipment was suspended. According to a MOP announcement, cargo vehicles will have to use the Bridge of the Americas, as well as passenger buses transiting to the Western part of the province of Panama and the interior of the country. (La Prensa)
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Panama mudslide devastating for Winnipeg man

WeatherBy CBC News - A Manitoba man was seriously injured in a mudslide in Panama that killed four members of his family. Winnipeg family members said Greg Coy is in critical condition after a mudslide engulfed a home in the coastal town of Portobelo, where 3,000 residents are now cut off following several days of intense rain. His daughter, Kristin Coy, told CBC News Friday that her stepmother and stepbrother were also killed, along with the stepbrother's wife and three-month-old son. The mudslide hit the town Wednesday.

The heavy rain also affected shipping through the famed Panama Canal, which was closed for 17 hours for the first time since 1989. Kristen Coy said she is hoping to travel to Panama to help her dad. She said family members in the central American country told her that her father tried in vain to save his wife. He was rescued by two men who came to his aid, she said. "My brother [Josh] and I are trying to get down to see my dad because we don't want his last memory to be his dying wife...," Coy said. "We want him to see our faces. "We need all possible assistance now."

There are reports that at least 10 people were killed and hundreds evacuated due to the mudslide and flooding associated with the heavy rain.

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Four family members killed in Panama mudslide

WeatherA Winnipeg man is in intensive care in a hospital in Panama and his wife is dead after they were hit by a mudslide. Greg Coy, 50, suffered a shattered pelvis, spinal cord injury, and internal injuries, while trying to save his wife on Thursday. Kristin Coy, 27, said tonight that the same mudslide also claimed the lives of her stepmother’s son, the son’s wife, and their young daughter. "It’s just a tragedy," Coy said. The woman and her brother are currently trying to get emergency passports so they can rush to their father’s side. Panama has experienced so much rain in recent days that the Panama Canal was closed on Wednesday for the first time in 21 years and more than a thousand people have been evacuated due to flooding. (Winnipeg Free Press)

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All Of The Bodies Of The Zapata Family Have Been Recovered in Portobelo

WeatherAll of the bodies of the Zapata family, who were buried alive by a mudslide in the community of Portobelo, were recovered Friday afternoon, 10 December 2010. The last body recovered was that of 21 year old Eduardo Zapata. Eduardo, Narcy, Janitza Arauz, and Vicente were the members of this family that was decimated by the weather. The bodies of Vicente and the child Janitza were recovered yesterday. (La Critica)
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